Sonic Mania preview

I was able to cover Sweet Suite’s Blogger Bash NY 2017 this past week and i have seen a very lot of toy previews and demos. There was also one table for SEGA and i have tried the upcoming Sonic Mania video game. I have been looking forward to this game since it was announced last year and i was happy that i tried it. 


The game emulates the gameplay and 2D sprite animation of the original Sega Genesis Sonic games. In this game, you can choose between Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. On the demo that i have played, only Sonic was avaliable and i was shown two stages. One is a remastered Green Hill Zone which has a few noticable differences as you play along during the stage, and the other is a new stage called Studiopolis Zone. Studiopolis is a more challenging stage and i had fun trying it. It took me almost 5 minutes to complete it but anyone who tries a new stage in any game will take some time to get used to it. 

In addition to the standard Spin Jump, Spin Attack and Spin Dash maneuvers, Sonic Mania introduces the Drop Dash, which allows the player to instantly dash into a Spin Attack upon landing from a jump. Also, the shields from the past Sonic games return in this game and some of them has effects that can affect an stage such as the flame shield burning away spiked bridges in the Green Hill Zone.



Overall, i cannot wait to try the full version of this game when it releases next month for the PS4, XBOX ONE and Steam. There is also an collectors edition for anyone who preorders the game. I have not been anticipating an Sonic video game since Sonic Generations and i love that game.

 

I have also taken photos of some of the cool merchandise line as well. check them out.


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Super NES mini Classic announced 


Slated for a launch on September 29th, the Super NES Classic Edition is a console kit similar to the original console that launched more than 20 years ago. Like the NES Classic edition that came before it, the new Super NES allows you to play retro Nintendo games in high-definition, over HDMI with two included wired controllers.

Nintendo will pre-install the following 21 classic games:
Contra III: The Alien Wars™
Donkey Kong Country™

EarthBound™

Final Fantasy III

F-ZERO™

Kirby™ Super Star

Kirby’s Dream Course™

The Legend of Zelda™: A Link to the Past™

Mega Man® X

Secret of Mana

Star Fox™

Star Fox™ 2 (released for the first time ever)

Street Fighter® II Turbo: Hyper Fighting

Super Castlevania IV™

Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts®

Super Mario Kart™

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars™

Super Mario World™

Super Metroid™

Super Punch-Out!! ™

Yoshi’s Island™

The Super NES Classic Edition launches on Sept. 29 at a retail price of $79.99, starting with direct availability from Nintendo. 

AMC’s The Walking Dead Monopoly Review

It seems there is no end to Monopoly being re-branded by popular shows and what’s the current next big thing. Catering to nearly every fad there are literally hundreds of variations and that is just the known and official one’s alone.

So how many times can the brand re-brand before people do not want to buy it anymore or lose interest. Never it would seem.One of the latest examples of Television show inspired re-branded Monopoly sets is the extremely popular, The Walking Dead series. Being a huge fan of the TV show i was delighted to see this back at the Toy Fair NY a few months back, and now i can finally review it after getting a review sample.

I handled this set with care as i studied this beautifully designed box, taking caution get scratched, cut or bitten by the packaging. It looks just like it has jumped right out of the AMC series along with using pictures from the television show’s characters and key locations such as Rick’s house, Hershel’s barn, The Prison, Terminus, Alexandria, The Hilltop, The Kingdom, The Sanctuary and much more.

Monopoly Pieces


The amount of character pieces seems to vary throughout the variations of Monopoly sets. This version comes with six playable pieces. Carl’s Hat, Rick’s Python Revolver. a Katana (Michonne’s sword), Lucille (barbed wire wrapped around a bat), Daryl’s Crossbow and a Walker’s head.

The board as you expect is completely re worked to relate to the series apart from the four corner squares which would not be Monopoly without them. The classic GO, IN JAIL/JUST VISITING, FREE PARKING AND GO TO JAIL!


Chance and community chest have appropriately been renamed as Survivor and Walker Each card has a small image from the TV Show and like the original Monopoly, an event, command or a consequence, but with it’s own take to liaise with the series.

Houses and hotels are still available but these are now known as walls and guard towers. Appropriate to relate to the series.

This is a game I am very excited to play against friends with as playing by yourself isn’t as fun, and a lot of my friends are just as much as big a zombie fanatics as myself. Heck I may even get into character and be a bat swinging gun slinging mad man with only survival to fight for. And should I get turned I’d better not bite any friends as I would have no-one left to play this awesome game with.


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Injustice 2 review

Injustice 2 follows on from the Injustice Gods Among us story. This time seeing team Batman vs Team Superman call a break to take on a deadlier approaching foe, Brainiac. Injustice 2 brings a slew of new characters to the fold. The thrilling story continues were better graphics and battle styles. But does it have enough to keep you coming back?

Gameplay

What surprises you at first is that for a fighting game the Injustice series has done pretty well in terms of delivering an A class comic book story that is actually an interesting narrative that keeps you glued to the screen. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised when I checked the time and noticed that I had lost track of time because of how engaged in the story I was. Injustice 2 and NetherRealm once again deliver a beautiful and engaging fighting game, one that could see people like myself who aren’t usually into fighting games, suddenly finding themselves thinking twice thanks to a compelling story, which you don’t often see in fighting games.

Story aside Injustice 2 is an excellent fighting game brought to us once again from NetherRealm Studios, who are the team behind Mortal Kombat. Combat is fast and fun and depending on your expertise level when it comes to fighters, each character now also tailors to how players handle a fight. I found myself a fan of using both Green Arrow and Flash as I felt their combos were easier to perform. Green Lantern on the other hand came off as a bit more of a challenge for me. Combos are the key to winning here, which is especially so at the online front of the game. On several occasions, I would find myself in a match where I was way over my head, but more on the multiplayer section later. Matches are filled with other environmental objects to help you take down your opponent. You can also destroy the environment sending your opponent through walls or other objects which then takes you to a sub part of that arena to fight in. A lot of what was present in Gods Among Us has been kept around in terms of world destruction and set up.

Injustice 2 handles a lot like its predecessor in terms of gameplay mechanics. You still have your special ability of sorts that sees each character perform some sort of chain of attacks in a cutscene. These are performed after filling your super meter, which can also be drained when performing other combos. I have to say that I wish there was more than just the one cutscene/special ability per character. Grows old seeing the same thing repeatedly. Especially when you can perform a special ability twice in a match, it would be good just to see more variety is all.

Thankfully though when it comes to variety Injustice 2’s character customization section is fantastic. From special suit accessories to the colour of the suit, you can make your favourite character to play your very own for the multiplayer section. Injustice 2 now includes a microtransaction system for anyone who may be interested in paying real life money to collect character specific items quicker than grinding for them. Players can buy source crystals with their own money to purchase certain other items to change the look of your favourite fighters. These are of course optionable. You don’t need to spend money. These are just for the players that want get them sooner than later.

Multiplayer

This is where the game really opens up. I do advise completing the single player story first however as it helps you get a feel for each character and helps level them up and by completing each chapter you are rewarded mother boxes. Mother boxes contain items of clothing or appearances for each character. There are several types of mother boxes and each contains a certain level of rarity for special stat carrying clothes and weapons. They also have levels so don’t go thinking you can use an epic bow on Green Arrow when you’ve just started playing online. There’s some work to be done first. It pays to work hard as each new article of clothing or accessory that you unlock from a mother box can help increase a certain stat for your character. These stats help you when you go against other players of the same level. You are also able to customize your card with different art works., much like Call of Duty for example. You also display your win/loss record so try not to perform poorly or your friends may see how good or bad you really are.

Graphics and Sound

Injustice 2 is a gorgeous game and the character designs are more stunning than its predecessor, including the world designs and clever use of arena objects that can be used as weapons. A lot of love has been put into the attention to detail here and it shows in every scene during the story and other offline and online fights. Injustice 2 has also some impressive voice actors. The great Kevin Conroy is back to voice as Batman which is always a treat to hear, as well as several DC voice actor veterans. While not getting into the story but as someone who reads the Injustice comics as well it was awesome to see it play out on screen and once again as it was beautifully presented.

Overall

Injustice 2 is a fantastic sequel to a much-loved universe. Another fantastic story is told while exceptional gameplay accompanies it. Injustice 2 is a gorgeous sequel that delivers on all fronts. While the story felt a little short to me and some of the ultimate attacks feel like they still could use some variation, I enjoyed my time here. Injustice 2 comes in a year chock full of Fighting games coming out left and right and I can say without a doubt that Injustice 2 deserves a spot on any comic fan or fighting fans gaming shelf.

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Prey Review

Arkane have, in just a short amount of time, mastered their craft. The Dishonored games did a great job at throwing a bunch of tools at the player and letting them navigate rich deep worlds the way they want to. Prey feels the same, only amplified. Trading in swords and spirits for guns and neurological enhancements, Prey could be construed as Arkane’s take on science fiction. It hits some pretty familiar beats throughout, but Prey feels like a natural evolution of the Arkane trademark formula.


Prey itself takes place in an alternate timeline where John F Kennedy survived the assassination attempt in 1963, in turn directing more funding into the space program and sending us into space much earlier. In Prey, you are Morgan Yu, an employee for Transtar who presently owns the research space station Talos-1. Morgan wakes up with little to no memory of his past, but discovers that he himself is intrinsically tied to the station and its bizarre alien research.

 Prey-Screen-CorpsePrey’s storyline sounds pretty cliché and at times it is, though the story isn’t afraid to head into stranger directions than you’d normally expect. As the game began I wasn’t too keen to progress in the story, instead exploring the space station at my own leisure. Though as I got further in, Prey threw some twists at me that hooked me on the ideas it was selling. Despite this, I still found the playable character somewhat unlikable and the main villain quite forgettable. Still, Prey’s story hits the right beats at the right time to pique players’ interests. Think of it as a warped combination: Memento meets Dead Space meets BioShock.

When you play the first hour or so of Prey, more seasoned gamers will see where the game draws inspiration. You’re on a space station, it’s falling apart, you start off with a wrench, you use powers to defend yourself called psionics and you’re being lead along by a faceless or mysterious voice. Prey is woven from strong genes – taking inspiration from Dead Space, Dishonored, System Shock and BioShock. It’s a first-person game that isn’t afraid to have moments of quiet time to let you explore the sprawling space station that is Talos-1 at your own pace and leisure.

That’s really the name of the game with Prey. It’s an open world, that lets you explore areas of the space station in (almost) whatever order you wish. Everything is connected, whether you want to naturally get to an area using the winding corridors of the space station or you want to leave the station and re-enter it elsewhere while floating in space. Prey’s densely packed world, shortcuts and connections all come together to give the game a sense of having an open world without the barren filler environments that commonly come with it.

When you’re navigating the world of Prey you’ll be outfitted with a variety of abilities, weapons and powers that let you approach the playground of Talos-1 the way you want to. Most weapons serve a dual purpose – they can also be used to create platform on the walls to circumvent obstacles, or activate buttons from a short distance away. Each weapon having multiple uses encourages experimentation, as well as thinking outside of the box.

When you’re done with Prey once, I’d be surprised if you didn’t want to jump into it again. Not only because you’ll probably miss something while trying to explore the sprawling Talos-1 station, but also because you can change the outcome of the game based on your treatment of others throughout the story. It’s nothing totally revolutionary, but given Prey’s flexible systems, running through a second time is bound to be different to your first, intentional or not.

Your play style will greatly decide how long it’ll take you to run through Prey, though I’d estimate most players would get at least fifteen to twenty hours out of their first run. Perhaps even more if they explored the station thoroughly. This much is certain: Prey is a game that just begs to be played at least once more once you’ve finished it.

Taking a page out of Dishonored’s book, Prey features a stylised art style to bring its world to life. The result is something that never looks hyper-realistic but something more distinctive instead. Artistically speaking, Prey brings together retro designs with futuristic ones to create something not unlike BioShock’s Art Deco style. From a technical standpoint, the game is running on CryEngine which brings with it the usual caveats for consoles – namely longer than desirable load times. It’s not the best-looking game, especially compared to others, but Prey does its own thing and it does its own thing well.

Prey’s world is run down yet colourful, and the soundtrack perfectly complements the experience. Composed by Mick Gordon, the score is filled with sublime synth beats and strange, otherworldly noises and sound effects to create something eerie, atmospheric and tense. These pieces do an amazing job at elevating the already strong atmosphere aboard Talos-1, and is quite possibly one of the strongest soundtracks I’ve ever heard in a game.

Prey is another win for Arkane. It’s a game where everyone who plays it will have a different experience. One thing is certain though – that Prey remains a consistent experience from beginning to end. Providing players with intuitive gameplay systems with great synergy, freedom to approach combat how you want and game design that rewards creativity are just three ways that Prey succeeds. While BioShock was heralded as the spiritual successor to System Shock, Prey feels like a much more successful attempt. An absolute joy to play and experience.

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LEGO CITY Undercover Review

LEGO CITY Undercover was first released in 2013 exclusively to the Nintendo Wii U, with a similar release on the 3DS platform. This release is a port of the original game across all the latest platforms to a sharper, faster-loading version, which also introduces two player co-operative gameplay.


I’ve played many of the LEGO franchise games across a number of different platforms and LEGO CITY Undercover has a very familiar look and feel to its predecessors, in terms of the gameplay and the cutscenes providing the storyline in between gameplay. The game finds our hero Chase McCain returning to LEGO CITY to capture the notorious Rex Fury while also protecting Natalia Kowalski, who has entered a witness protection programme after providing evidence to put him behind bars before he managed to escape.


The first part of the game is heavily driven by cutscenes as it introduces the characters and gameplay to the player. For those familiar with LEGO games this does feel very laboured, as you’re probably itching to get started. That said, this part of the game does set the familiar humorous tone of the game, which in my opinion hasn’t grown tired at all; the detective briefing scene at the start of the game is great and features characters such as Starsky & Hutch, Sherlock Holmes and Columbo. An early level in the game takes Chase McCain to Albatross Island, which looks remarkably like Alcatraz, and the level centres around a plot line featuring numerous references to the film Shawshank Redemption. While some of the humour may be wasted on younger players, the game wouldn’t be the same without it and as an adult player it does maintain interest and puts a smile on your face.


The game may not be challenging to seasoned gamers as it’s not difficult to complete the levels, but there is plenty to explore in the 20 districts of the open-world LEGO CITY, so there’s plenty of longevity. I loved the scanner aspect of the game, which allows Chase to track the bad guys with some pretty neat tech. There are also elements of the city marked with blue and white bricks, which effectively allow our hero to perform some free running and cool slow motion action.


The game is a delight and the game will keep you entertained for hours. The open-world is great to explore and there’s plenty to achieve and unlock outside of the core storyline. There are many great elements to this game, all of which contribute to a great experience, so this comes highly recommended.

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New York Auto Show 2017 Media Days photos  

i had the privilage to cover this year’s NY Auto Show and so far it has been a blast. Today i share Photos that i have taken from the event and the car lines include Scion, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Hyundai and more. I also attended the media breakfast as awards were being presented and given to winners of the advertisers of the cars. During the breakfast, there were announcements to new ads that will premiere within the next few months. 



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LEGO Worlds Review

Traveller’s Tales have used the LEGO license perfectly by building Lego Worlds as a rival to Minecraft. The game is loosely tied to some rules but has a nice structure in itself to keep the players interested. The premise has the player as a space traveller who gets bumped onto the world and has his ship broken. So, he rebuilds his ship and sets off in pursuit of new words. In the way, he finds out various devices which help in building, replicating and demolishing.


There is Discovery tool which is largely used throughout the game. Just point it to a new object, hit X when it gets highlighted and the item will be added in your vast library of parts and people. You can then deploy these parts and people whenever their need arises. Going on in the game you will also get the opportunity to build an entire world from the scratch. But before that, you will get introduced to and well versed with all the rules, options and controls of the game.


You get to do amazing things and go on adventures including fighting to save a queen or saving cavemen from the wrath of volcanoes. The most amazing thing is that everything that is part of the game world is made of LEGO. So, you have almost entire control and can copy, paint, build, destroy, almost anything you want.


You can do anything you want to. Create a mountain, replicate a castle, or dig out treasure. Sometimes you may get guided by the game, sometimes you will just want to get your hands dirty and create something amazing. But learning to use the tools and getting used to its not so intelligent input manipulation is hard. Your buildings may get fiddly in the beginning, put some time into and you become an expert.

The only flaw in the game is its issue of frame rate and the camera which gets upset in congested areas. It gets especially annoying when you are moving too fast and the game loads up the terrain slowly. In local co-op mode, the game gets really patchy and may feel like everything is just disconnected from each other. But with the gameplay being of a very relaxed nature, it never becomes much of a problem.

The game has a feel that it is the first towards a much greater game. Just some tweaks here and there and Traveller’s Tales might get something outstanding in line. Still, kids can get easily lost in its world for hours and the offline and co-op mode further complement those possibilities. This game is easily a 4 out 5 for its unique experience.

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